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the corner infielders

Mike Lowell was hit by a pitch tonight which led me to think more about the firstbase/thirdbase situation, especially for next year. Add to that the acquisition of Triple-A firstbase prospect Chris Carter today, and one has to wonder what the plans are.

It seems like in the ideal world, the Sox would sign Lowell to a one year deal. However, I highly doubt he'd be willing to do that. That would be an unreasonable "hometown discount" to expect. Lowell is 33 years old, talented, very popular with fans and teammates, and coming off one of his best years ever. He is the prototype of the guy who's looking for a long term deal. That, taken with what I expect will be some hometown discount because Lowell obviously wants to stay in Boston, leads me to expect Lowell to ask for at least 3 years. If he were talking to, say, Tampa Bay, he'd probably want 5 years.

So, can the Sox and Lowell reach a deal on 3 years? I sort of doubt it. I bet Theo et al can cite stats ad nauseum about rapid declines for players after they turn 34 or 35. It's a tough gamble to not bid on Lowell, but, frankly, they are usually right on that sort of analysis. Think about sentimental favorite Billy "Barou" Mueller. God love him. But god also made him old with bad knees. He was 34 when his contract came up with the Sox. He was coming off 3 good years, including one ridiculous (and winning) one. They didn't sign him. Results: Mueller has played 32 games in the last 2 years. So, do you think the Dodger's $4.5 million investment last year worked out?

Now, Lowell is unlikely to take the Mueller track. He has played at least 130 games every season since 2000, and usually more like 150. Since there are not great players on the market at first or third, since Youk seems like he and his glove should stay at first, since we have nothing in the high minor leagues at those positions (at least we did not last week), it seems that keeping Lowell is the best idea. My question about that, to be answered some other day: where then do we add power to the lineup?

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